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Flour Power: 10 Best Corn Flour Substitute Ideas

Are you trying to find a good corn flour substitute? While it was challenging, I did manage to think of a whole list of fantastic alternatives.

Without corn flour, you might struggle to make corn tortillas, tacos or cornbread. You’ll have to find an alternative if you’re allergic, run out, or otherwise unable to use it.

I’ll provide you with my preferred alternatives to corn flour and cooking advice to ensure that your baked products turn out perfectly every time.

In that case, if you’re prepared to elevate your baking skills to the next level, let’s get to work!

Corn Flour Substitute featured image | Girl Meets Food

What is corn flour?

Dried corn kernels are finely ground into yellow or white powder to make corn flour. In the US and South America, yellow corn is more common, which causes color variation.

Corn flour can thicken soups, stews, and sauces in addition to baking and traditional recipes. It can be used with water to thicken and sweeten these recipes.

Corn flour is different from cornstarch. Cornstarch is a fine powder and an excellent thickening agent, whereas corn flour is coarser and utilized as a key component in many recipes. Both are derived from maize.

Corn flour can be used in many different dishes because of its adaptability. Gluten-free cakes, cornbread, and corn chowder benefit greatly from its use, becoming noticeably more tender and flavorful.

10 best corn flour substitute ideas

6 types of gluten-free flour are in the wooden bowls stand on brown surface | Girl Meets Food

These common substitutes for corn flour have similar characteristics and can be used for your favorite recipes. Let’s start with cornmeal:

  • Cornmeal

Coarse cornmeal can replace corn flour because it’s also manufactured from corn. Its grittier texture makes it unsuitable for fine-textured dishes. Nonetheless, it’s a great replacement for corn flour in cornbread, hushpuppies, and fried food coatings.

I have a separate article diving into ground cornmeal as a substitute for flour. Check it out for more info!

  • Masa harina

Mexican cuisine uses masa harina for tortillas and tamales. Its flavor and texture come from lime-treated maize.

Masa harina can substitute for corn flour in tamale recipes providing a slightly different texture and a stronger maize taste (just as cornflour is an excellent masa harina substitute).

For more Mexican inspiration, try these enchilada casserole side dish ideas.

  • All-purpose flour (white flour) and cornstarch

All-purpose flour and cornstarch can produce corn-like flour. This alternative works in recipes that need a smooth texture like cakes, cookies, and sauces.

1/4 cup cornstarch and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour form 1 cup corn flour alternative.

  • Potato flour

Ground potato flour is another option for a gluten-free diet that can replace corn flour in recipes that demand a fine texture. Its somewhat sweet flavor works nicely in pancakes, waffles, and some baking recipes.

Cornbread made using potato flour instead of corn flour has a thicker consistency and moister texture and a somewhat different flavor than traditional cornbread because of potato starch.

  • Rice flour

Rice flour is a great alternative to corn flour for its taste and thickening properties. Noodles, dumplings, and mochi—staples in Asian cuisine—are made from rice flour.

It’s important to remember that this flour isn’t ideal for cornbread and hushpuppy recipes, which call for a coarser texture.

The brown rice flour flatbreads I made had a nuttier flavor and a little more substantial texture. For additional cooking diversity, this version was worth the effort.

You can also use sweet rice flour made from glutinous rice. There is a dedicated article where I go into detail about sweet rice flour benefits and alternatives.

  • Chickpea flour

Ground chickpeas make gram flour, another naturally gluten-free alternative to cornflour. It can stand in for corn flour in any recipe with a desired grainier end result. Chikpea flour is a staple ingredient in many Indian dishes—pakoras, socca, and chila.

Instead of maize flour, I substituted chickpea flour in my usual tortilla recipe, and the outcome was quite surprising. The tortillas’ somewhat nutty taste and thicker texture went splendidly with the rest of the components.

Are you wondering what to use instead of chickpea flour? Check out my article on chickpea substitutes for more ideas!

  • Wheat flour

As it does not meet the criteria for gluten-free flour, wheat flour cannot be used as a direct replacement for corn flour. If you don’t mind the gluten, wheat flour is a versatile ingredient rich in fiber.

  • Almond flour

Ground almonds make tasty gluten-free and high-protein flour. Baked items benefit greatly from its mild flavor and soft texture.

It’s important to remember that almond flour is expensive, so it might not be the best option for everyone.

  • Spelt flour

Spelt is a kind of wheat that has a little more protein than common wheat. It tastes and feels more like maize flour than wheat flour does.

Spelt flour is a great alternative to corn flour in baked goods like bread and cakes if its nuttier flavor and finer texture are preferred.

I’ve tried my standard cornbread recipe with spelt flour instead of cornmeal, and it turned out really well.

  • Sorghum flour

Milled sorghum grains produce sorghum flour. This gluten-free substitute can be used in dishes that call for a coarse texture (such as tortillas and polenta) and has a moderate flavor.

It’s great for thickening soups, sauces, and stews. Sorghum flour makes pancakes and muffins softer and more filling while also adding fiber.

You could get some great new suggestions from these sorghum flour alternatives. Check them out!

Corn flour substitute FAQs

A small jar of corn flour stands on a wooden board. Some corn kernels are scattered around | Girl Meets Food
What are some cornstarch substitutes?

Potato starch, tapioca starch and arrowroot powder are some of the most popular substitutes for cornstarch.

Can I use plain flour instead of corn flour?

Yes, plain flour can be used as a substitute for corn flour in certain recipes. You can use it for cakes, cookies, and sauces.

What’s the difference between corn flour and cornmeal?

Corn flour is made by grinding corn kernels into a fine powder, while cornmeal is coarser and uses the entire corn kernel.

Can ground flaxseeds replace corn flour?

In certain recipes, like muffins and pancakes, ground flaxseeds can replace corn flour. They’re nutty in taste and full of fiber and healthy fats.

Can I substitute cornstarch for corn flour?

No, you can’t substitute cornstarch for corn flour. Cornstarch is a thickener for sauces and gravies, while corn flour is often used in baked goods.

What’s the best corn flour substitute for frying?

All-purpose flour is perhaps the best substitute for corn flour in frying recipes. It’s a great all-around choice that gives fried meals a golden, crunchy outside.

BOTTOM LINE: Depending on the recipe and desired texture and flavor, corn flour can be substituted. Try these alternatives to discover the perfect fit. You can make wonderful meals with cornmeal, masa harina, all-purpose flour, cornstarch, or potato flour.

 Hope you’ve found a perfect corn flour replacement for amazing dessert recipes and savory meals!

While you’re here, why not also check out these alternatives to buckwheat flour, or these replacements for cornflakes!